Washington sends so many threatening messages to so many countries that the only conclusion most of them draw is that they have to protect themselves from crazy Washington…with nukes if possible. From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:
President Donald Trump, having launched brutal economic war against Iran while ordering the assassination of one of its top officials, appears shocked that Tehran keeps firing back, most recently at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. He remains full of threats, even though Secretary of State Mike Pompeo withdrew some embassy personnel and considered closing the facility. Despite his bluster, Trump has been a fake, a faux warrior and paper tiger, thankfully preferring so far to avoid military confrontation.
However, he recently initiated one of Washington’s patented but least effective maneuvers, having the US military sail and fly somewhere to “send a message” to an adversary. The purpose is to cow opponents into fearful submission, leaving them hunched in the fetal position, trembling in terror at the display of America’s awesome greatness. More likely, alas, dedicated nationalists abroad respond by building more, bigger, and deadlier weapons, including nuclear arms, to deter US military action.
Being a superpower is hard work. During the Cold War the US confronted the Soviet Union around the world. Since then Washington has attempted to impose its will unilaterally – “what we say goes,” intoned President George H.W. Bush. However, other countries continue to stubbornly resist America’s will, causing every recent president to at least once intone “all options are on the table” when dealing with another government.